SunGard Survey Reveals Lack of Proactive Data Reporting

The priority placed on business intelligence (BI) continues to heighten, but many organisations are challenged by the need to improve reporting techniques, business capabilities and information management, reports SunGard.

A global survey by the company of just over 200 senior executives found that a vast majority, collectively 80% of respondents, use periodic reporting techniques (51%), and reactive, ‘after-the-fact’ reporting (29%), demonstrating that many current BI programmes lack proactive, investigative reporting tactics.

SunGard said the survey results show that BI derived from everyday transactional data is reliant on effective information management practices. Using improved investigative and proactive data analysis through advanced reporting tools and operations can help businesses more effectively mine intelligence buried in everyday data.

However, failure to adjust and improve processes, use proactive analysis techniques and align IT with the business may result in an inability to analyse changes in business performance and operations.

The survey highlights include the following:

Firms have not widely moved to a proactive, investigative reporting strategy:

  • Only 20% of respondents use proactive and investigative techniques, or showed an interest in scorecards/dashboards and analytics techniques. The ability to answer questions about ‘what if’ scenarios can adequately prepare the business and positively impact risk management capabilities.
  • For a majority of respondents, reactive and ‘after-the-fact’ analyses are the primary means of data analysis. Companies’ reliance on spreadsheets, manual data manipulation and periodic reports can limit their ability to conduct proactive analysis.

Only a small percentage of firms are utilising advanced analytics and reporting tools:

  • Almost half of survey respondents (45%) fulfil reporting needs through manual data extraction and data cleansing tools, as well as data presentation in spreadsheet or portable document formats(PDF).
  • Only 13% of respondents utilise advanced BI techniques such as predictive analytics and alerts.

IT and business must align to improve BI needs and requirements:

  • Seventy-one per cent of respondents indicated that they are slow to integrate advanced BI tools and software. IT and business view themselves as ‘technology followers’ (43%) or adopt only proven technologies (28%).
  • However, the survey showed only 29% of respondents indicated using a proactive approach in which IT follows technology trends in tools and processes, signifying that there is an ‘early adopter’ segment that may be eager to strengthen business operations and performance through BI tools.

Companies still lag in adoption of strategic, enterprise-wide business intelligence techniques:

  • Just over half of respondents (53%) have either a tactical approach with little cross-department coordination (28%) or authorise and manage their BI projects at the department level (25%).
  • Only 22% of respondents report that while projects still appear to be managed at the department level, there are links to the enterprise-wide priorities and goals.

“Technology creates visibility across the business, and enterprise-wide operational practices are essential to optimal efficiency and effectiveness,” said Scott Lundstrom, SunGard group vice president and general manager of IDC financial, government and health insights.

“The strategic implementation of business intelligence tools and analytics, along with cross-departmental alignment, can transform data into meaningful, useful information for critical analysis. Proactive and investigative BI reporting techniques can help recognise new business opportunities and provide firms with a competitive industry advantage.”

SunGard’s report, entitled ‘Assessing Your Firm’s Business Intelligence Maturity’ can be accessed here.


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